It was late in the Broncos’ 2022 regular-season finale against the Chargers in January when Jerry Jeudy became aware the milestone was in reach.
“In the fourth quarter, they were telling me on the sideline, ‘You’re almost at 1,000 yards,’” Jeudy said. “I hadn’t even realized it.”
Jeudy entered the finale with 818 receiving yards on the season. Given that his previous career high for yards in a game was 140 and that 92 of them came on one play, reaching 1,000 yards that Sunday didn’t seem likely. Then, he began burning the Los Angeles defense, catching deep bombs from Russell Wilson and picking up big chunks of yards after the catch. Suddenly, the big number was in view.
“You saw Jerry,” as left tackle Garett Bolles put it, “break out of his shell.”
Jeudy ultimately fell short of the benchmark, finishing his third NFL season with 972 yards and six touchdowns on 67 catches, all career highs. But coming that close to a milestone that seemed well out of reach midway through last season illustrates how quickly things seemed to finally click for Denver’s top playmaker, who had spent much of his first three seasons trying to find his footing as a pro.
In the final six games of the 2022 season, Jeudy caught 37 passes for 523 yards and three touchdowns. His reception rate was 82.2 percent — a major leap from the 53.6 percent mark he produced in the 35 career games that came before that stretch — and improved chemistry with Wilson was evident. Put simply, Jeudy looked like a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver.
But as quickly as Jeudy rounded into form down the stretch last season, could he just as suddenly be moving on from the Broncos?